A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for KeyArena has been released, and it definitely mentions the impact the arena’s upcoming renovation will have on the Seattle Storm – currently the Key’s primary tenant.
The EIS mentions how KeyArena will be unavailable to the Storm for likely the next two seasons while it undergoes renovations to make it a more attractive stadium for NHL and NBA franchises. It says the Storm will likely play its games for those two seasons at either Alaska Airlines Arena (University of Washington), the Tacoma Dome, or arenas in Kent (ShoWare Center) or Everett (Angel of the Winds Arena).
Ironically enough, those were the exact same four arenas mentioned in a previous Beyond The W story mentioning where the Storm could play as the Key prepares for its $600 million makeover at the Oak View Group beauty salon, so to speak.
The EIS specifically mentions how a temporary relocation of the team could have an impact on attendance, but also how it could be beneficial for fans outside of Seattle’s city limits since the Storm draws fans from throughout western Washington.
This impact would be temporary, and it is common for professional sports teams to relocate during arena or stadium construction timeframes. Because the team could be accommodated elsewhere in the greater Seattle area and because the relocation would be temporary, this would be a less-than-significant impact.
–Seattle Center arena draft EIS
The Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx know very well about stadium renovations resulting in relocations. The Lynx are moving back to Target Center in Minneapolis after renovations to that venue put the team at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, along with University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena for the playoffs.
The Dream will play its final season at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion this year before moving back to Philips Arena for the 2019 season as renovations at that venue become complete.
Last year, the Storm got approval from the Seattle City Council for an extension of its lease at KeyArena through the 2028 season.
The EIS also mentioned that the 2019 Pac 12’s women’s basketball tournament will relocate to Las Vegas with KeyArena being unavailable.